The Heart of Aikido
“Aikido practice is purification of the body and mind on all levels.”
"If people do not understand the principle of takemusu aiki [valorous, unlimited creativity], they will only think about winning, never wanting to lose, matching brawn against brawn, bullying the weak and powerless-in short, they take an aggressive attitude. To rid the world of aggression and contention is the purpose of Aikido." —Morihei Ueshiba
The legendary Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, spent a lifetime immersed in the philosophy and practice of the martial traditions of Japan. Throughout his extraordinary life he mastered an array of techniques from various martial schools including jujutsu and kendo. Blending these techniques with a deep affinity for the Shinto religion, he honed them into a wholly new system called Aikido-the way of harmony. His universal message of peace has earned Aikido a world-renowned reputation, and Aikido is now practiced in over ninety countries, with devotees from all walks of life.
The Heart of Aikido: The Philosophy of Takemusu Aiki takes the reader on a spiritual journey straight to the essence of Aikido, in the words of the great Founder himself. Ueshiba, affectionately known as O'Sensei, or "Great Master," devoted himself to the promotion of peace and expression of universal human values, and spent a substantial part of his life imparting and teaching these values. Taken largely from transcripts of lectures he gave, The Heart of Aikido draws on the essence of the Founder's philosophy and spirituality based on the Shinto religion, and his beliefs on the divinity of the true self and the universe. His teachings also emphasize the importance of harmony in Aikido, and how ultimately humans can foster a peaceful society by dispelling aggression through such harmony.
This long-awaited English version is a translation of the original Japanese classic. Among the many Aikido books that exist today, this book will stand out for its heartfelt focus on the spiritual message of the Founder, and how that message resonates with equal urgency in today's world.
About the Author
MORIHEI UESHIBA was born in Western Japan in 1883. After devoting himself to mastering classical styles of judo, kendo, and jujutsu, he created Aikido, an entirely original martial art, based on the spiritual teachings of the Omoto-kyo religion. After the Second World War, Morihei established the Aikikai Foundation in Tokyo to promote the dissemination of Aikido throughout the world. Morihei died in 1969.
MORITERU UESHIBA was born in 1951, grandson of Morihei Ueshiba and son of the late Kisshomaru Ueshiba, the second Aikido Doshu. He graduated from Meiji Gakuin University in 1976. In 1999 he became Aikido Doshu, and the permanent chairman of the International Aikido Federation.
HIDEO TAKAHASHI was born in Tokyo in 1932. He served under Masahisa Goi as chief editor and director of publications of Byakko Shinko Kai, and until his retirement he also served as the organization's vice president. He has authored numerous works of prose and poetry on world peace.
JOHN STEVENS, Buddhist scholar and Aikido instructor, is the translator and compiler of Morihei's The Essence of Aikido, and author of many other books on Aikido, Buddhism, and East Asian Art.